Thursday, May 18, 2017

Firsts and lasts.

Bringing the countryside indoors.
Spring has quickly gone and it feels like summer. It's been very dry and far warmer than we expect for this time of year.
The spring flowers have quickly been replace by early summer ones,
the tulips are just about over
and are now replaced with
irises and aquilegia,
Gertrude Jekyll.
Zephryn Drune.
Rosa rugosa.
some of the roses are also flowering,
White Rosa rugosa.
earlier than most years.
We have our first flower on the Lilac that we planted four years ago
and a Montana clematis that we planted last year has rewarded us with flowers.
Strawberries are late this year  probally due to it being so dry but we have now had our first good picking.
We have had our first cauliflower, not as good as normal, but again I think it's because of the dryness,
we have also had the first of the new potatoes, lovely with loads of butter served with a good helping of asparagus, this is doing well this year, it doesn't seem to mind it being so dry.For some reason, our Victoria plum tree planted five years ago has curled up and died, it flowered well and fruit set, the leaves started to appear then dried up and fell. No sign of disease, it just died, so no bottled plums or Old Dower House chutney this year.
In between hospital appointments we have manages a few trips out and about, we had a lovely trip to Cong which is a very pretty small town, it also has a lot of good eating houses, probally because it's a favourite tourist spot, it was made famous by John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the film 'The  Quiet Man'.
We had a lovely meal out, the good old British staple, of fish and chips
followed by a very nice Pavlova ,
 we were pleased to find that Cong has it's own Craft Beer brewery, which was lovely. Gone are the days when choice was limited to Guinness, Smethwick's (ugh) or cider, many small towns now have their own micro breweries.
The weekend found us on the coast again,
Fishing harbour, Mullaghmore.
one of our favourite places, Mullaghmore in Co. Sligo.
Again we ate out, being a small fishing village it had to be fish or rather sea food, lovely fresh crab claws,
followed by a good homemade cheese cake.
The one thing that we have now become aware of is wheelchair access, although most eating houses have ramps, pavements are a nightmare. The worst place is Galway hospital, you would think that such a place would have easy access, what ramps they  have are still an inch high, and the pavements are full of cracks making it a very hard job to negotiate.
Snowball tree, Viburnum opulus.
We have at last had a couple of days of rain, but nothing to penetrate the soil more than a half inch, but the garden has appreciated it, so have the weeds and slugs.
And more waves.
Banks of sea thrift.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Early summer colour.

Freddy doing a bit of bird watching.
Time has flown, I can't believe that it's nearly three weeks since I last posted, it's not so much that I have nothing to write about but more of lack of time and energy, life seems to be one hospital or doctors visit after another, if it's not for me then it's for Simon, it gets very tiring, sitting for hours waiting to see this specialist or another and one test after another. I guess this is just a sign of old age, I don't feel old in my mind, I still think I'm a teenager, who or what stole all those intervening years, and condensed them into a moment?
Webers Parrot.
So not  many words this post, just photos of our early summer flowers.
Perfect Match.

Red Hat.
Tulip Night Club. a multi headed tulip.
Tulip Swan Wings.
Camassia Leichtlinii.
Garlic Ramsons.
Cow Slips.
Ornamental Cherry. 
Apple Blossom.
A pink Blue Bell.
Lough Key Crab apple.
Queen of the Night.
Flowering Cherry, not ours though.
Things are growing well in the garden despite  having virtually no rain for five weeks now, parsnips germinated well, but no sign of the carrots, the same goes for the leeks, these will have to be replanted.
 Every day there is some new forest or gorse fire, many of these are started deliberately, today we passed acre after acre of burnt moorland and some forestry has burnt as well.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Time..

All around, the hedgerows and gardens are full of colour, spring has definitely arrived. We heard the first Cuckoo last weekend and yesterday the Swallows arrived.
In the woodlands Bluebells

and Wood Anemones are in flower, the perfume from the bluebells is wonderful. The wild Garlic is also well up,  but no flowers as yet. We had a drive out to Forest Park and then onto Derreen woods to see and smell spring time.
Close to Derreen woods someone is farming Llamas, they look to be doing very well and are definitely looking very woolly, last year we saw them just after they had had their babies, maybe next time we go that way we will once again see their young. Most of the local farms have now finished lambing, it's lovely to watch the lambs playing chase and 'King of the Castle'. Our wild birds are not so interested in the food we leave out for them, they are too busy making nests.
All the  Blackthorn hedgerows are now covered in white, they look as though someone has covered them with lace, they look beautiful.
Everything in the garden is growing well, including the weeds,
we've had our first picking of Asparagus. If the fruit blossom all set we will have a bumper crop of  fruit this year,
the Lough Key crap apples have lots of flowers as well as the  Victoria plum trees,  the apples also have a lot of buds.
At last, one of our two Damson trees has bloom, first time in five years, I had severely pruned one of them, threatening it with the  chain saw, but it's the other one that has the flowers.
 Both of the peach trees have set lots of fruit, however the Apricot tree has not, despite having been well hand pollinated, the friend that gave us this tree also failed to get fruit to set.
The lemon is  full of bloom, again something that has to be hand pollinated although we do leave the porch door open in the hope that a bee might arrive and do the job for us, the perfume from the lemon is lovely.
 Even the Blueberries have lots of flowers this year. Unless we get a late hard frost we should have lots of fruit to carry us through the year. Vegetable seed sowing continues, the propagator and greenhouse is full of seed trays and modules, there's always something that needs doing at this time of year.
We still have lots of daffodils but the tulips are now taking their place for colour.
My last pottery project turned out well, I had ordered a special glaze for it and I'm very pleased with the outcome,
I have now started another one to make a matching pair, but it will be several weeks before it's ready as Jacki my teacher only fires when she has a complete kiln full, I will just have to be patient.
Being Easter we once again made a dozen Hot Cross buns, unfortunately they didn't last , we ate them all in two days, maybe we will make some more, they were delicious.
Finally, colour overload, some of our Tulips.